In 2008 I graduated with my MS from Larry Smart’s Lab at SUNY-ESF. Larry gives his students a personalized graduation gift, something that reflects the rapport he had with each student. Mine included a hunter green sweatshirt, a hunter green picnic blanket, and a green water bottle because as he said, “she needs more green stuff.” So yes, SUNY-ESF’s school colors are green and gold, but I’m pretty sure he had Michigan State University in mind with my hunter graduation gifts. Larry went to MSU for his PhD, and I went to NC State for undergrad whose school colors are red and white. During my 2nd year in his lab, NCSU and MSU played each other in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge and Larry and I bet on our respective teams, loser bakes the winner dessert in school spirit colors. I made cupcakes with bright green frosting. But apparently all that hunter apparel was just getting me ready for 2017…
I started a postdoctoral position in the Bradburd Lab at MSU. I will work on spatial and temporal population genomics. I’m really looking forward to learning new modeling skills.
Today is the first day of my postdoc with Jason Munshi-South at Fordham University! I’m super excited about starting this position and not just because I get to go to work everyday in a mansion (see below). The Munshi-South Lab focuses on adaptation to the urban environment. I think this is a really unique way to think about the forces that shape selection particularly rapid adaptation on shorter time scales. In 2009 the United Nations estimated half the world’s human population lived in urban areas and that the percentage will continue to rise. By studying species with both shorter generation times and closer contact with the urban environment (ex- pollutants, artificial lighting, linearized environments), we hope to gain an understanding of how selection responds to urbanization. This may provide insight into how humans are also adapting to urbanization.
The project that I will work on focuses on brown rats (Rattus norvegicus). Brown rats are not native to North America and were introduced via ships coming from Europe in the 1700-1800s. So before we can understand how selection has acted upon their genomes, we must first understand where their genomes came from as we hypothesize substantial admixture in North American populations. (Hmm, phylogeography and admixture, that sounds like something I know about.)
Beyond the project, I’m excited to work with new lab mates, always a fun part of science!
Calder Hall at the Louis Calder Center, Fordham University
Last year I applied for NSF’s Postdoc utilizing museum collections, the first year for that particular competition. My colleagues have started asking for advice on applying, so I went to NSF’s awards website and saw the types of projects they funded. I summarize a few results below.
In 2015, there were 56 proposals submitted and 27 funded (48% funding rate). The break down based on priority was:
- High: 7
- Medium: 10
- Low: 22
- Do Not Fund: 17
I think there is some good news in here for us young researchers who may not understand how funding works. Specifically, it was not only the High Priority proposals that were funded, there must have been Medium and Low Priority proposals also funded.
Of the funded proposals 18 focused on vertebrates (birds: 8; mammals: 4), 4 on invertebrates, 4 on plants, and 1 was very difficult to tell the focal species.
Since museum collections lend themselves to both genomic approaches and studies of morphometrics, I counted the number of proposals that mentioned each technique. Based on the abstracts, 54% of will use genomics, and 15% will collect morphometric data. I would say these are minimum estimates as some abstracts were unclear.
Finally, I counted the number of museums that each proposal would partner. On average, funded proposals will work with 2.7 museums (range 1-6), although seven abstracts did not report number of partner museums. This is critical in the writing stage as you will need a letter of support from each museum partner.
Of course none of these stats suggest how to frame an interesting and relevant question that utilizes museum collections. I present them simply as a snapshot of what was funded the first year of this unique postdoc.
I created this website in large part because I am looking for postdoctoral research opportunities. I anticipate graduating in May 2015 and starting a new position shortly thereafter. My current research interests are below; additionally, you can find links to my publications here. I would be happy to discuss project ideas or university specific fellowship opportunities that may fund my time in your lab. Please contact me: EEPuckett at mizzou dot edu, or via Twitter.
I am broadly interested in both the spatial and temporal distribution of genetic variation in functional and neutral loci. Regarding the spatial distribution, I am interested in geographic barriers leading to within species lineage diversification and range expansion processes, particularly the adaptive potential of range expansion for widespread species. Regarding the temporal distribution, I am interested in both the timing of either de novo mutations or changes in standing allele frequency variation as an adaptive response to climatic change. I am also interested in incomplete lineage sorting.